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ACT Brumbies

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News looks at the new Chair of RA, emerging talent, Cockbain on the Tahs and, a crazy Crusaders record.

A New Chair For RA

Paul McLean & Mark Loane

In a shock move, (not really) Rugby Australia has promoted Paul McLean to Chairman effective immediately. The move, that seems to be all about optics, is temporary while a permanent Chair is found.

Cameron Clyne, the old Chair and Melbourne Rebels superfan, was coping lots of flack for being heavily involved in negotiating rugby’s new broadcast deal after tendering his resignation. Personally I don’t get it. Clyne suddenly didn’t forget everything he knows just because he’s changing jobs in a month or two.

Clyne will still remain on the board as a director until the Annual General Meeting, at which point his official replacement will be named.

Rugby Australia is currently interviewing for three new board directors, who will be elected at the AGM.

One of those people will be identified as a future chair to ultimately take over from McLean after an undefined period.

In a statement released on Monday morning, McLean said the board had decided a change would aid in the long-term transition.

“The Board has collectively made the decision to make this change, with the full support of Cameron, to enable us to provide support and a comfortable transition for the new chair following the AGM,” he said.

“As the most senior Director remaining on the Board beyond the AGM, I have accepted the chairmanship during this transitional period.”

“Ultimately, there are some major pieces of work that are either nearing completion or getting underway, including the negotiations around the media rights, Rugby World Cup bid process, World Rugby positions, and a Collective Bargaining Agreement, and we believe this change will provide added stability at a crucial time for the business.”

JO’C Deja Vu


JOC no 10? Clearly yes

JOC no 10? Clearly yes

When the then Australian coach, Robbie Deans, selected James O’Connor as flyhalf for the Wallabies I thought he was off his rocker.

Last weekend O’Connor played flyhalf for the Reds in the record win against the Sunwolves in a display that won him player of the round in at least one publication. And speculation is everywhere that he is now the frontrunner for the vacant Wallaby ten jersey.

O’Connor’s journey back to Australia, the Reds and possibly the 10 jersey is full of missed opportunities and self-discovery and will probably make a great book one day, but I’m glad he got here eventually.

The O’Connor of 2020 is “facing his fears” in the playmaking spot and showing why he deserves a second chance in a gold no.10.

“For me, it hurt me. It genuinely hurt and I can admit that now,” O’Connor said of the 2013 series.

“I thought I played average, I thought with the knowledge I had of the game and the time I’d had in the saddle, looking back on it, I did all I could.

“When I came into 10 at the Wallabies last time, I hadn’t spent enough time there. I thought I could do it and I guess a lot of people did believe me as well but I didn’t understand the game well enough.

“I’ve come from a rugby league background and as much as you play at schoolboy (level) and you can do the job in Super Rugby because it’s a very attacking style, at Test level it’s a very different game. It’s (a challenge) now that I’m ready for.”

“Going back there now, you can’t run away from your problems, you can’t hide from things and for me, it’s facing (fear) head on, you take it on and once you defeat it, that’s the whole point of life, to experience these challenges,” he said of playing at flyhalf.

Cockbain Looks To Brumbies and Reds.

The embattled Waratahs are looking to their Australian rivals for a way to move forward from their horror 0-3 start to the Super Rugby season.

Development has been the Waratahs’ mantra this year and in the preseason coach, Rob Penney said they would commit to giving their young talent the chance to make mistakes and grow, even if it means some short-term pain.

Cockbain said they were still committed to that approach despite their results.

“We’ll continue down that path,” he said.

“Teams like the Reds have done that recently and they’re starting to see a few benefits in that, in and sticking with their young players and promoting them through.

“It’s not as if we’ve got someone to bring in to replace those guys either, we’ll look to nurture them along and just support them.

“They’re going to make mistakes, that’s fine, but that’s a learning process and as long as they are learning from that then we’re happy with that.”

Cockbain said it was on the coaches to ensure that their youngsters were also owning their own development in a way.

“It’s just being really clear with how we want them to play and also working with them in review to, say they didn’t stick with a plan, it’s just to sort of ask them, ‘What were you feeling here, what can we do to help you? Do you need more clarity around this process?,” he said.

“That’s the art to coaching is to figure out what they need and you do that by asking the right questions.

33 Home Wins In A Row!

Is a ridiculous record. But that’s just what the Crusaders have done. Imagine you’ve bought season tickets and you’re just about guaranteed your team will take home the chocolates. My Reds nearly did it in 2011 but this is far beyond anything like that.

The Crusaders defeated their south island rivals, the Highlanders, 33-13 in a less than 80-minute performance.

The Crusaders, now 3-1 before their first bye of the season, scored four tries to lead 26-8 at halftime, then managed only a try apiece with the Highlanders in a less dominant second half performance.

The Crusaders’ first half tries were mainly opportunist or against the run of play.

They were stronger than the Highlanders at set pieces but exerted no control over the match and were frequently stretched in defence.

“We talked about getting our rhythm right this weekend and we got a wee bit of that throughout the game and I felt we nailed it at stages.”

The Crusaders produced moments of exceptional rugby from players such as winger George Bridge and centres Braydon Ennor and Jack Goodhue.

 But they again fell short of a complete performance.

The return of their full All Blacks complement later in the season will likely boost their form.

  • Missing Link

    7 years after “JOC is not a 10″, I’m sure we can finally agree that Robbie Deans was right, he was just 7 years ahead of his time…..

    • AllyOz

      His take on it is interesting. He acknowledges that it might have been too early or that he wasn’t prepared for the role. Certainly, learning a new position when you are in the Wallabies wouldn’t be the ideal and I don’t know if it does any of these young players well to be the Mr Fix-It or the multi-position bench cover but who knows, maybe that failure then is the driving factor for his readiness now….the obstacle is the way perhaps. Enjoyable to see him and his team playing good rugby anyway and I hope they can follow it up with a really strong performance this coming weekend – it is a major test for them to prove they can be consistent and not the less mature side of last year that showed promise and capability one week and then felt apart the next one. I personally think this could be the start of something special at the Reds but the next few weeks will prove the theory.

      • Geoffro

        JOC is a good player and he now has years of top flight rugby under his belt same as Matty Toomua but they are not the natural born flyhalves we are craving for.Still hoping for one of the young blokes to make the position their own

        • Nutta

          Yeh but Michael Lynagh was not a natural 10 either. He always preferred 12. And Lloyd “Magic” Walker was a natural 10 who was pushed into 12…

          But I do agree with the last bit – someone needs to want it and own it.

        • Reds Revival

          Lloyd Walker was so entertaining to watch. He wasn’t fast by any means, but he was able to time his passes to perfection. I loved his Wallabies game against the ABs, showed some real talent and had them guessing.

        • Nutta

          I once heard he was the only guy ever beaten in a sprint at a Wobblies training session by Tom Lawton

        • Geoffro

          Walker was a rare talent I agree but he played a lot at 12 outside our greatest ever 10 Ella.Understandable.I woud have him at 10 over Lynagh too ,believe he got a run there when Dwyer took over as coach again in 88.Funny that.

      • Missing Link

        I also hope he does well. He’s back in Aussie Rugby and unfortunately we can’t undo his past, we can only focus on what he can offer us going forward. Freak talent and seems to have ditched “the brand” somewhere along the way and replaced it with life experience and maturity.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Scott Allen said at the time he thought JOC’s best position would be 10, but he needed a whole super season there.

    • RedAnt

      Happy to see him doing well but I’m still not convinced he’s a genuine option for 10 for the Wallabies. While his passing and running games are great, his out-of-hand kicking game is very poor, and that’s not really acceptable at test level.

    • Who?

      Robbie wasn’t right. JOC wasn’t a 10. He may be a 10 yet – but two good games doesn’t determine that (especially when one was against the Wolves).
      JOC’s great strength back in those days was his footwork, to stick him at 10, where he had responsibility to organize play and not constantly run the ball, was wasteful.

    • wilful

      Aren’t we forgetting that JOC was dropped into the position and Lilo came off with concussion 1 minute into the first Lions test? I challenge anyone to stand out in that circumstance.

      • Who?

        Christian was wearing 12, JOC wore 10.

  • Ron Botswell

    That 2013 series was peak Australian rugby. The nations eyes on rugby and Deans selects O’Connor at 10 and Barnes at 15 to open the series, and it’s over…

    • Braveheart81

      I reckon losing our 12 in the first minute of the game then two more backs either side of half time and having to play a loose forward in the backs for more than half an hour had more impact on us losing that first test than JOC at 10 and Barnes at 15.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Also, Kurtley wearing shorts studs. We easily could have won the first test and lost the second.

        It was a close series. JOC did fine, given Deans’ game plan. I think the single biggest issue was Deans’ game plan.

        • Nutta

          I often reflect on that kick. I don’t say the wholus-bolus responsibility for losing that series was Beale missing that kick. It was far deeper and more dysfunctional than that. But I wonder sometimes just what would have happened to Oz rugby if that kick made it. If that kick sailed over we won the series, the doors slid a different way, the 3 Amigo’s were teflon coated hot-tub marketing pin-up boys and off we go…

        • AllyOz

          yeah … I wonder if it might have just prolonged it….add winning a Lions Series to an already bloated set of egos and it might have made it worse somewhere later down the line…I think, in the end, we all get called out for our hubris. It always catches up with us somehow. My only major disagreement with Deans at the time was the decision on openside flankers in the 2011 World Cup. I wasn’t a Reds fan then, nor a QC one so that wasn’t a factor with me as it was with others. But he had a decent run in terms of length of tenure (as did Cheika) and I think it was time to look elsewhere.

        • Who?

          The Cork man next to me was praying hard and dying before Beale slipped…
          Honestly, the first two games felt like the Lions playing to avoid losing. The way they played in the third game (which wasn’t due to Davies over BOD, it was just attitude) was the way they should’ve dealt with us through all three games. They had so much firepower that they didn’t bother to use!

        • Timbo

          What game plan?

        • Missing Link

          “Play what’s in front of you”


      • Nutta

        Damn fine memory you applied there. Which was the game where Smith got KO’d?

        • Braveheart81

          That was the 3rd test in Sydney where we got pumped.

      • Hoss

        Halfpenny also missed a kick that would have made it 2 zip and goodnight nurse. On form & fairness, we should have won game 1 and them game 2, but the rugby gods saw it differently.

        • Missing Link

          It was never meant to be our series… Beale slipped trying to take a penalty on the hooter which was arguably within his range in game 1, that would have won us the game, then we scraped through in game 2 after halfpenny’s attempt fell short. 2 really tight tests and then a shellacking in game 3….

        • Hoss

          Was at game 3, we dropped the pill from kick-off, Sanchez self-combusted and unloaded on the poor piggy – all this in first 5 seconds, the tone was set and it was goodnight Harvey.

        • Who?

          Twas his second miss in the last 10 minutes in that first Test, too…

      • Who?

        I’d agree, but that loose forward in the backs was Hooper, and, honestly, I thought he played well. He copped a lot for ‘allowing’ a try, but I still maintain that it wasn’t his defensive error……

    • RF

      I disagree, think we were a few years into the decline by them.

      In 2009 the Bledisloe was packed, the biggest issue for Wallabies fans and media was the split opinions over Matt Giteau. The decline was sharp in the immediate years that followed, almost coinciding with Rocky Elsom’s status as a force, and by 2013 the Lions tour was pitched as something to “Save Australian Rugby”. The public had already turned against the players and coach. In the years that followed the resentment just turned into something worse, indifference

  • Dave P

    what’s Cockbain’s role with the ‘tahs?

    • Howard

      Forwards coach

    • Geoffro

      another Red in the cupboard.Along with an ex stalwart as captain and a dyed red ascending to the ARU chairmanship and another bleddy Kiwi coach.Were losing our grip on the nepotism which once made NSW rugby great

    • RedAnt

      Grunge rock performance director

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Sully, Love that you’ve used the same pic as yesterday. No bias coming through at all mate.
    I admit JOC played well on Saturday and he is looking very good at times but I also hope Rennie has at least 1 if not 2 of the youngsters in mind for his team. I’m not sure JOC is the future 10 for the Wallabies but absolutely looking more settled than Toomua at the moment.
    By hell the Crusaders have a good record that most other teams would just love to have. Interestingly I’m not that enamoured by Bridges, I think he lacks the speed needed on a winger his side and while he does well when given the right situation, I’ve yet to see him beat anyone one-on-one. I hope Ioane steps up as him and Sevu Reece offer a lot more.
    I really hope the Tahs stick with their youngsters. I personally think it’s the senior players stuffing things up not the younger ones and Penney needs to address some of the players he’s left on the field from Gibson and maybe relook at them. I think Harrison has the potential to be a very good 10 but he needs to be allowed to play that role properly and I’m not sure that’s happening at the moment.

    • AllyOz

      while neither Toomua nor JOC are the perfect 10 (sorry) I think it’s good that we have got them around. Thorn is able to play JOC there at the moment and give Lucas exposure depending on the game situation – last week I think he got 30 plus minutes but not every week will be like that. We may have a similar situation at the Wallabies where we have these two blokes either starting at 10 for some part of the season or playing inside centre to these new blokes, which is a good situation to have. Thorn may be looking to swap them back later but Stewart is defensively very good and seems to be performing well now too with much of the play making role off his shoulders. While we are thin on experience in the 10 itself (even our experienced players have never played it as their sole position) I think we have some reason for optimism as to what might emerge. I do feel a bit sorry for Harrison – I feel the Waratahs are where the Reds were a couple of seasons ago but hopefully they can accelerate their path out of there. I would note that the Reds 3 – 4 changes of coaches didn’t help speed the process so hopefully Penney is the right man to turn him around. I have had the pleasure of playing a few minutes (literally) with Cockbain and being involved with him at club level and, though I can’t speak to his coaching knowledge, he certainly has the character required and was inspirational to play with (despite him being responsible for one of my (many) concussions).

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Don’t be sorry mate I agree. I think both are more suited to 12 than 10 and bringing the young guys on with them doing the mentoring would be good

        • AllyOz

          I was actually apologising for the poor pun of “perfect 10″ KARL but I am never in too much disagreement with your posts, as they generally make too much sense for anyone to disagree. I think, by the end of next year, one of the young blokes will have cemented the run on 10 and the older blokes will be in those supporting roles at 12. By the world cup both O’Connor and Toomua will be 33 and so, while they are still far too young not to be in contention, we are probably going to see someone else at 12 – Paisami, Simone or perhaps Kerevi returned from Japan. It is strange that the area we thought was going to be our weakness is already starting to see some early promise (though plenty of time for things to go wrong). The one I feel for at the moment is Harrison. McKellar’s Brumbies have an established structure for someone new to fit into and the Reds backs a playing behind a dominant forward set piece and are now starting to add an attack game around that. The Waratahs are maybe two seasons behind them, are a bit short in key positions (front row particularly) but do have some experienced heads if they can get it together. I hope he gets an opportunity to display his talents but learning in adversity might be best thing for him down the track – it often is.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Thank you. I think that Australia has always had the players just not the right selectors for the last 5 years. Paisami was dynamite on the weekend and if he keeps that up then things are looking good. Still a little bit of weakness at wing and FB. Koribete is great in attack but needs to work on his defence a lot. DHP is steady and maybe that’s all you need at the moment.

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    Clyne stayed on far too long and the RA Board eventually realise that they had to tell him to go as he just won’t get it. If he plays the leading role to pick his successor and shape the broadcasting deal to favour his preferences (Rebels) he will compromise his successor and that person’s ability to unite rugby across Australia. The fact that he couldn’t figure this out himself just illustrates why he was such a failure as Chairman.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Oh come on, do you have any evidence whatsoever that Clyne would ‘shape the broadcasting deal to favour’ the Rebels? I may not agree with all of his decisions, but I’ve seen nothing to indicate he hasn’t always acted in a way he believes will most benefit Australian rugby.

      • Missing Link

        Someone from WA trying to pass off rumour and innuendo as fact in an attempt to support the case of the Force over the Rebels has never happened before, I’m totally shocked :)

        • Or vice versa :)

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          You just need to review his track record and the instrumental role he played to save the Rebels. A deal where the details are still so opaque that no-one has an idea of what that will really cost RA.

      • Reds Revival

        I think Clyne’s issue was capability, rather than culpability. While he didn’t set out to stuff things up, his people management wasn’t up to the task to navigate the tricky waters of Rugby relationships. Very different to banking where shareholders expect the ruthless decisions to be made in the name of more profit. In Rugby, not so much. We are a people sport that relies on the relationships and involvement of many volunteers. It requires a totally different approach, which is why I think Raelene is doing a much better job.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          I also don’t think he was not
          well suited for a role in the management of diverse stakeholders, their interests and expectations.

          The Chair should ideally be an uniting force above the narrow interest of the states that advocates for what is in the national interest. Clyne has unfortunately been a divisive figure that deliberately setup opportunities where he can play the interest of one state off against another (divide and conquer). He left a Rugby Australia that is divided and unable to compete with their traditional rivals on and off the field.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Only if you assume that Clyne wasn’t correct in thinking we needed to drop a team. Given that, apparently, the other SANZAAR nations all told us to do so to improve our performance and every other board member bar Geoff Stooke agreed to cut a team, maybe, just maybe, Clyne was right?

          In that case it simply comes down to you not liking the team that RA chose to cut. I’m not saying you should love Clyne or agree with him, but there’s no need to cast aspersions on his character or motives.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          If you want to axe a team there is a clumsy unprofessional way to do it and a transparent but fair way to do. The former build animosity while the latter will gain acceptance If you deliver such a devastating decision there is an emphatic way to do it where you fly over to look people in the eye, explain the situation to them and their families and give them an opportunity to ask questions and give people the support to move on. Then there is the cowardly way to hold a press conference in Sydney and let people find out in the media that they lost their jobs and their team. Clyne has shown that he is either incompetent at best or at worst that he has no respect for the rugby community. Glad to see him go, just 3 years too late.

    • Ads

      Hannes, I nearly agree with you. If you’d have said:
      “Clyne stayed on far too long and the RA Board eventually realise that they had to tell him to go as he just won’t get it. If he plays the leading role to pick his successor and shape the broadcasting deal to favour his preferences (Rebels) he will compromise his successor and that person’s ability to unite rugby across Australia. The fact that he couldn’t figure this out himself just illustrates why he was such a failure as Chairman.”
      Many would agree with you.

    • AllyOz

      Like others I mostly agree Hannes but I can’t see how he could spin the TV deal to benefit Melbourne. Hopefully he’s not seeing the writing on the wall and jumping just so he doesn’t get lumbered with the legacy of a bad TV deal as well as the cutting of the Force etc. Having the Force would probably be the better option for a TV deal in any case – you could have 3 pm games coming into the Easter states at 6 pm live and night games that followed on directly after the finish of the Saturday night game in the eastern states and then not such a large gap to the start of the games in SA so, if anything, I think keeping the Force might have been the better option in terms of TV coverage.

ACT Brumbies

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to http://www.onesully.com.au

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